International tours could be jeopardized by new ivory regulations

Posted on: April 10, 2014

In Wednesday’s (4/9) Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), Zachary Lewis writes that if amendments to recent regulations by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding the transportation of ivory aren’t made soon, tours abroad by U.S. orchestras could be jeopardized. “ ‘It’s a caught-in-the-crossfire sort of thing,’ said Cleveland Orchestra general manager Jennifer Barlament.… At issue is African elephant ivory, one of the world’s most protected natural materials but a common ingredient in piano keys, violin bows and bassoon bells, particularly those of fine, older instruments.… ‘We’re quite sure it wasn’t their intent to target musicians,’ said Heather Noonan, vice president for advocacy at the League of American Orchestras, a trade organization. ‘But a musician literally can’t afford to be without his instrument.’ … For instruments with ivory predating 1976, and whose purchase history can be documented, it’s possible to obtain a permit through the USFWS … A spokeswoman for the Service said the process takes 30 to 45 days and costs $75…. Efforts are underway to create further exceptions for instruments with ivory purchased legally since 1976 … as well as passport-like certificates for individual artists and groups such as orchestras and chamber music ensembles.”

Posted April 10, 2014